Researchers studied NC Zoo animals’ reactions to no visitors during COVID shutdown

North Carolina

ASHEBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — The North Carolina Zoo shut down to guests for months. 

During that time, researchers studied the animals to see how they reacted to the park being empty. 

Curator of Research Emily Lynch worked with zookeepers to record any changes to the animals’ behaviors. 

Lynch says keepers noticed the biggest changes in chimpanzees, gorillas, seals and sea lions. 

They all frequently went to the glass searching for people. 

Other animals, like the nocturnal animals like bats and sand cats, didn’t notice the change. 

Lynch says this data can help them draw conclusions about animals living here and at zoos across the country. 

For example, they believe some animals like the chimps form strong bonds with their care teams and they enjoy the interaction with guests on a day to day basis.   

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